Malacañang said it cannot control if Filipinos continue to distrust China, but believed that they will eventually appreciate the Asian giant because of the benefits that the Philippines is getting from Chinese.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace was not surprised that China was seen to be the least trusted countries for Filipinos in the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted from September 27 to 30.
“The Office of the President will neither court nor force any citizen to change his or her sentiments toward our giant neighbor in the North,” Panelo said.
“We will respect their conviction the way we value their allegiance to the Republic and its elements,” he added.
Moreover, the SWS survey showed that China dropped to even lower ratings with -33 of net trust, nine points lower than the -24 it had in June last year.
Panelo assumed that Filipinos might not trust China due to several incidents involving West Philippine Sea, particularly the property dispute.
“The results are foreseeable and understandable given the conflicting positions of China and our country relative to the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
Despite that, Panelo said the Palace is optimistic that Filipinos will soon appreciate and show affection towards China and will eventually get inspiration from it.
“It is in our belief, however, that China, like any other country, will [eventually be] appreciated by the Filipinos by reason of the President’s independent foreign policy which has resulted in significant benefits favorable to the Philippines,” he said.
“Verily, China could even become a role model of the Philippines in reducing, if not totally eradicating, poverty,” Panelo added.
Meanwhile, the SWS survey showed that the United States remained to be the most trusted country by Filipinos with an “excellent” score of +72, followed by Australia with +37, Japan with +35, and Singapore with +26.